Joe Sakic emerged from behind a curtain, a line of demarcation between him, his Colorado Avalanche staff and any nosy media people, after the second period of Saturday’s “Rookie Showcase” tournament game between the Avs and San Jose Sharks at the host’s normal practice rink.

He looked tanned and fit and his demeanor was relaxed and, for him, kind of chatty. Make no mistake about it, though: There is another line of demarcation in which Sakic is determined to hold firm. The all-business, serious-as-a-heart-attack manner in which he addressed the situations of two top players, both of whom may or may not be on hand when veterans are due to report on Thursday, made it clear Sakic isn’t about to be bullied into something he doesn’t want at the bargaining table by opposing general managers and either Matt Duchene or Nikita Zadorov.

The 2,000-pound elephant in the room in all things Avs these days is the ongoing drama involving Duchene, who has yet to skate with any teammates this summer in Denver and whose agent, Pat Brisson, has been noncommittal about whether his client will report to training camp if he isn’t traded first.

“He’s under contract and I expect him to be here on the 14th,” Sakic told BSN Denver. “He doesn’t have to be here ’til the 14th. Not everybody always come to camp early. It’s not for me to (say), but I assume on the 14th, he’ll be here.”

And, what if he doesn’t?

“Well, I don’t have to worry about that right now,” Sakic said. “Training camp is Thursday. There’s nothing to think about right now. Training camp isn’t until the 14th and we expect everyone that’s signed to be there, like every other year.”

Duchene, who hasn’t commented publicly since an NHL function in Toronto earlier this summer, gave every indication he wanted a change of scenery, telling NHL.com, “Divorced is a strong word so I wouldn’t say that, but I think I’ve made it so that [any team association]is not part of my identity My identity will be with a team come training camp. I don’t know what team that is yet, but my identity right now needs to be strong in myself and belief in myself.”

Sakic remained coy about whether he’s actively shopping Duchene. He may not be the one doing all the calling around the league, but he certainly has been and remains in listening mode. Sakic won’t say it out loud, but any trade involving Duchene will have to be to terms of his liking. That means, getting as much quality youth as he can on defense, the team’s biggest weak spot.